In Israel, they refer to all of this as a fight between wars. Sunni Arab states, though, see Iran literally trying to create a modern Persian empire stretching anywhere there are Shiites.
Tehran, under the guidance of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and military leadership of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, is trying to overturn the old and familiar structure of the Middle East and redraw the map of the region.
Iran’s advance in the massive geographical theaters of Iraq and Syria has become mainly an Israeli mission.
But even the string of Israeli successes in these areas is not expected to stop Iran from spreading out. Tehran has been beholden in recent years to a doctrine that focuses on exercising control in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and beyond.
Iran has tough financial problems and hardships faced by the average citizen like rising prices, poverty, drugs and prostitution in large cities, but these all take a backseat to the megalomaniacal games played by Soleimani and his IRGC buddies.
Billions of dollars are spent keeping arms flowing to Hezbollah in Lebanon, putting bases in Syria, waging endless war against the Saudis in Yemen and, of course, sending thousands of freelance militiamen, including from Pakistan and Afghanistan, to build up Shiite strongholds in Iraq.